Calgary Stampeders slotback Marquay McDaniel had extra motivation against the Montreal Alouettes on Saturday night, and it paid off.
McDaniel wanted to outperform former Calgary teammate Nik Lewis, who made his return to McMahon Stadium as a member of the Alouettes.
"It was me and Nik. I’ve got to outplay Nik," said McDaniel, who caught a pair of touchdown passes to lead the Stampeders (4-2) to a 25-22 win over Montreal (2-3).
McDaniel caught a one-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Drew Tate in the second quarter and then hauled in a 42-yard TD pass from starter Bo Levi Mitchell in the third to put Calgary up 24-20.
"That touchdown in the third quarter was definitely a big one," said McDaniel, who finished with seven catches for 126 yards. "That was when we said we need to come out and get it. Me and Bo did a good job of being on the same page and executing."
Mitchell said that it’s great to have someone as reliable as McDaniel as one of his receivers.
"I always say he’s a rock," said Mitchell, who completed 23-of-32 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns. "That guy’s a quarterback playing receiver and he’s always in the right position. He sees the coverage, just like I do. He’s always sitting in the right holes and everything and he’s so sure-handed."
Lewis finished with three catches for 41 yards, but moved into ninth place on the all-time CFL receptions list with 822.
"I just look forward to climbing the chart personally and getting some wins teamwise," said Lewis, who signed as a free agent with Montreal in the off-season after playing 11 seasons in Calgary. "We’ve got to turn it around."
Eric Rogers also caught a touchdown for the Stamps, who avenged a 29-11 loss they suffered in Montreal on July 3. Calgary kicker Rene Paredes added a field goal and a single.
Alouettes quarterback Rakeem Cato connected with S.J. Green for his lone touchdown pass. Cato threw three touchdowns against Calgary in his CFL debut.
"This is a game about adversity," said Cato, who went 20-for-32 for 278 yards and one interception. "We didn’t handle the adversity all that well. We got a little sluggish. We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that was handed to us. We’ve just got to come back tomorrow and keep getting better."
Stefan Logan also scored a touchdown on a punt return for the Alouettes, while Boris Bede kicked a pair of field goals.
Bede helped Montreal open a 17-0 lead with a 37-yard field goal before Cato tossed a 51-yard touchdown pass to Green at 10:14 of the first quarter.
After the Stampeders went two-and-out on their next drive, Logan returned a Rob Maver punt 74 yards into the Calgary end zone.
Calgary answered back at 1:12 of the second quarter when Tate capped off a four-play, 70-yard drive with a short toss to McDaniel in the end zone.
Following a quick two-and-out by Montreal, McDaniel caught a 30-yard pass from Mitchell, who then tossed a 34-yard strike to Rogers in the end zone two plays later to pull the Stampeders within three points.
After Bede kicked a 23-yard field goal at 12:24 of the third, Paredes responded with a 27-yarder two minutes and 20 seconds later.
McDaniel started the second half by catching his second TD of the game, this time from Mitchell, to cap off Calgary’s second four-play, 70-yard drive of the game.
Paredes missed a 36-yard field goal at 6:18 of the fourth quarter, but still recorded a 47-yard single to put the Stamps up by five points.
Facing a third-and-two situation on Calgary’s 23 yard-line late in the game, Montreal wasn’t able to convert and the Stampeders got the ball back due to a turnover on downs.
On the last play of the game, Mitchell threw the ball backwards to Jeff Fuller, who conceded a safety as time ran out on the clock.